April 20, 2021

Capacity Assessment

On this page, you will find resources for: 

  • Lawyers 
  • Judges 
  • Psychologists
  • Physicians 

For Lawyers


Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacities: A Handbook for Lawyers, 2nd Edition

Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacities: A Handbook for Lawyers, 2nd Edition by the ABA Commission on Law and Aging and the American Psychological Association is a new and improved second edition of the original that offers trust and estate lawyers, elder law attorneys, family lawyers, health lawyers, and general practitioners a conceptual framework and a practical system for identifying and addressing problems of client capacity, including how to work effectively with clinicians when needed. Vistit the ABA book store for more details and to order:
https://www.americanbar.org/products/inv/book/411701219/                                                                  Recieve a bulk discount of 20% off 50 or more copies using the code AGING20.  

PRACTICAL Guide-A Guardianship Practice Tool

This resource guide aims to help lawyers identify and implement decision-making options for persons with disabilities that are less restrictive than guardianship. “PRACTICAL” is an acronym for nine steps lawyers can use in case analysis to identify legal and practical approaches to heighten self-determination before moving ahead with guardianship. Learn more about the PRACTICAL Guide and Tool

Developing Dementia Capable Legal Professionals (Hawaii Training, Feb. 2015)

Legal Issues and Alzheimer’s Webinar Series

  • Part 1: For Legal Professionals Working with People with Dementia and Assessing Client Capacity by Erica Wood, Esq., and Jane Tilly, DrPH (November 2012)

Competency: Reforming Our Legal Fictions

 by Charles Sabatino and Suzzanna L. Bassinger, Journal of Mental Health and Aging, pp. 119- 144 (2000).

For Judges

Judicial Determination of Capacity of Older Adults in Guardianship Proceedings

This book contains practical tools to equip a wide audience of judges to conduct any form of guardianship proceeding more effectively. Includes links to expanded information, work sheets, and model forms. 2006.

Printed copies are no longer available.

For Physicians

New Online Course for Primary Care Physicians and Other Clinicians on Assessment of Capacity of Older Adults  

Rush University Medical Center and the Commission on Law and Aging have released an interactive online education curriculum on assessing the capacity of older adults, funded by The Retirement Research Foundation. The course is timely because demographic, technological, medical and other vast changes affecting medical professionals are making capacity assessment a growing challenge. The curriculum is aimed at physicians but valuable for all health care clinicians and students. A press release with more details is available here.

Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacity: A Handbook for Psychologists

This handbook is designed for psychologists evaluating civil capacities of older adults. 2008. 146 pp.

Printed copies are no longer available.


Evaluating the Capacity to Drive, by Erica F. Wood, Bifocal, Vol. 37, No. 4. March – April 2016

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